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Death toll in South African ‘deadliest’ flood hits 306

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The death toll in what has been described as the ‘deadliest’ and most devastating floods in South Africa, has risen to 306 as at Thursday morning.

The KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s Durban province has been the epicenter of torrential rainfalls resulting in the floods and mudslides which began on Tuesday, with residential buildings collapsing, hillsides being washed away, roads cut off and more people being declared missing.

The South African meteorological agency in a report, said the downpour which was the “heaviest rains in 60 years” pummelled Durban’s municipality known as eThekwini, for two days consecutively.

“At the moment the confirmed figures of people that have perished during this disaster is 306, across the KwaZulu-Natal province,” Nonala Ndlovu, spokeswoman for the provincial disaster management department, said in another statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa who visited the affected areas on Wednesday, described the floods as a “catastrophe” and a “calamity” for the country.

“Bridges have collapsed. Roads have collapsed. People have died … this is a catastrophe of enormous proportions,” Ramaphosa said, assuring the people that his government will surely come to their aid.

“This disaster is part of climate change. We no longer can postpone what we need to do … to deal with climate change.

“It is here, and our disaster management capability needs to be at a higher level,” said the president.

The search for missing persons is still going on, Mr Ramaphosa said, as he promising to “spare nothing” in dealing with the disaster.

Metro

Death toll in Senegal violence rises as police clash with protesters

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The death toll in the violence that erupted following the sentencing of Senegalese opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko has risen after one more person was killed on Friday, as police and protesters clashed for a second day running.

The clashes had sprung up on Thursday after Sonko was jailed for two years by a Dakar court on charges of “corrupting the youths”, and quickly spread to several cities in the country, leading to nine deaths, with properties and vehicles set ablaze by the protesters.

The rioting mob had attacked supermarkets, shops, banks, police stations and public transport networks.

In a national broadcast on Saturday morning, Interior Ministry spokesperson, Maham Ka said another person was killed in the southern town of Cap Skirring where protesters targeted a gendarmerie.

Ka said though the situation was now “mainly under control”, the few remaining “incursions” were being handled.

“If demonstrations had remained peaceful, there would be no issue,” he said.

He further described the protests as “gratuitous violence” and congratulated security forces for their interventions.

The riots on Thursday and Friday are the latest in months of violence in Senegal which was sparked by Sonko’s court case as well as fears that President Macky Sall will try to bypass a two-term limit and run again in presidential elections scheduled for February next year.

The 48-year-old Sonko was first arrested two years ago and accused of raping a woman who worked in a massage parlour in 2021, when she was 20, and making death threats against her.

A criminal court cleared Sonko of rape but found him guilty of an offence described in the penal code as immoral behaviour toward individuals younger than 21, in a case the opposition say is politically motivated to prevent Sonko from running in elections next year.

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Cameroonian traditional ruler released by Ambazonia separatists after 18 months

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A prominent Cameroonian traditional ruler who was kidnapped by Amazonian separatists in the country’s restive Northwest region has been released after spending 18 months in captivity, government officials said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement said the traditional ruler, Fon Kevin Shumitang, who is also the president of the Northwest region’s House of Chiefs and vice President of the Northwest Regional Assembly, was reportedly rescued by the military during a clash with the rebels during the week.

The statement stated that the military freed Shumitang from a separatist camp in Bui, in the Northwest region on Thursday morning while several fighters were killed in the encounter.

The Governor of the region, Deben Tchoffo, who confirmed the rescue of Shumitang in a statement on Saturday, said the traditional leader’s release showed that authorities were gradually restoring order after years of separatist unrest.

“I would like to congratulate military men that carried out the operation,” said Tchoffo.

“They have been able to take back the Fon of Bambalang. Indeed, it is coming to confirm that things are coming back bit by bit normally in almost all the major parts on the Northwest region,” he added.

According to Tchoffo, the traditional ruler was abducted from his palace in the town of Bambalang by the Amazonian fighters led by one of its commanders, General No Pity, on December 7, 2021.

However, one of the leaders of the Ambazonia Peoples Rights Advocacy Platform, Capo Daniel, in a separate statement, said Shumitang was not rescued by the military but was released by the group after months of negotiations.

“The Cameroon government arrested 15 family members of No Pity and transferred them to Yaounde,” Capo Daniel said.

“Both of them were used to pressurize No Pity to come to a compromise to release the Fon of Bambalang.

“That is exactly what happened. There was no military operation. The Fon was released and then handed over to the Cameroon authorities. We expect officials to release No Pity’s family members in the days ahead as agreed during negotiations.”

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